01/09/2014 09:16 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

These Manatees Are The Squishy-Faced Best Friends You Always Wanted (VIDEO)

Although you might want to be besties with these manatees, perhaps a long-distance friendship would be better for everyone.

Manatees are often called "gentle giants," and this video makes it clear why. They're slow-moving, peaceful creatures that tend to flock toward human activity in search of warmth. Underwater discharge pipes are super hot hangout spots in the manatee world.

The species can also be pretty friendly, as demonstrated by the curious manatee nuzzling the diver.

The video was shot in part at Crystal River, Fla., where people are allowed to swim and interact with manatees. The interactions have spurred a debate between Crystal River residents about how to best protect the manatees while providing economy-boosting tourism.

Now, the issue is particularly topical because last year Florida lost a record 16 percent of its manatee population to a red tide algae bloom. The "swim-with" program may be on the chopping block.

Maybe you won't be exchanging bff bracelets anytime soon, but we can still love and support these "gentle giants" from afar.

If you still need your friendly neighborhood manatee fix, try calmingmanatee.com -- it never fails to make us feel better!



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